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100,000 journeys have been made on Belfast Bikes already - and here's the man who hit the magic number

By Valerie Edwards

Published 09/10/2015

Colin Thompson has made the landmark 100,000th journey on a Belfast Bike. (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)
Colin Thompson has made the landmark 100,000th journey on a Belfast Bike. (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)
Colin Thompson (centre) with Councillor Declan Boyle, Chair of Belfast City Council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee; Gillian Shields, Community Investment Manager with Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland; Veronica Noble, Client Account Manager with NSL; and Anne Burke from the Department for Regional Development Cycling Unit. (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)
Colin Thompson (centre) with Councillor Declan Boyle, Chair of Belfast City Council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee; Gillian Shields, Community Investment Manager with Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland; Veronica Noble, Client Account Manager with NSL; and Anne Burke from the Department for Regional Development Cycling Unit. (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)

Colin Thompson was on his usual commute to work on Wednesday when he unwittingly started the 100,000th journey on a Belfast Bike.

He often gets a lift to work or drives in from Newtownabbey, parks a distance away and hops on a Belfast Bike to ride down to his office.

Colin said: "It's a bit strange hitting 100,000 in such a short time period with it only having started in April. I'm surprised that there is that much uptake with the bikes, but they are a big help getting in between my offices."

His time is split between two offices with about a mile and a half in between. He travels to both offices using Belfast Bikes and saves about ten minutes per commute.

"I'm just surprised and very privileged to be the 100,000th user. I was registered for the Belfast Bikes before they even came out because I wanted to give them a go and I use them at least three to four times a week."

The 45-year-old believes the bike system works quite well, but he does hope for future expansion. He said: "One thing I would love to see is the bikes spread further afield and go a bit further out because I have a friend who parks at York Gate and actually rides his bike in and he's avoiding traffic. He actually gets to work faster than he would in a car and he saves on parking costs."

On Wednesday, Belfast bikes announced on Twitter their100,000th rental in less than six months - that's at least 606 rentals per day.

Veronica Noble from NSL, which manages Belfast Bikes, said: "NSL is proud to be a partner in such a well received scheme. Since we began operating the bike share in April we have been delighted with the take up and response from the people of Belfast and to get to the 100,000th rental so quickly is fantastic.

"As well as the obvious benefits for the environment and people’s health, these bikes also give people a superb option for any short journey across town. We look forward to the next milestone of 500,000."

As a part of the Belfast City Council initiative, Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes was launched in April this year.

There are more than 300 bikes at 30 bike locations in the city centre, but the council is considering installing new bike docking stations at Queen's University and Belfast Met in Titanic Quarter.

Belfast Health Trust has also expressed an interest in installing docking stations at its three main city hospitals - the Royal Victoria, the Mater and the City.

In the first week of operation, the Belfast Bike scheme out-performed the start of Glasgow's, which reached 50,000 rentals in nine months and beat the famous Boris bikes scheme in London.

During the first three days, the scheme performed 15 per cent better than London, and 10 per cent better than Glasgow.

By the third week, there were more than 4,486 individual users in Belfast. Some of the docking stations even struggled to cope with the high demand and stations at Mays Meadow, serving Central Station, and Alfred Street/Linenhall Street were over-subscribed.

Other stations have been proposed for locations at the lower Shankill, lower Falls and lower Oldpark Road, with funding to be sought from the Department for Social Development's Building Successful Communities scheme.

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